All of my assessments are unannounced. I am a passionate supporter of the value of proficiency assessments given at any time without warning. My assessments take on many forms – reading and answering questions, listening and answering questions, writing an essay or story, translating sentences, defining terms, live or phone interviews – and are never exactly the same as the previous assessment. I always prepare myself to defend my position against any opposition, but there has been very little opposition over the years. Most students, parents and administrators understand the point and agree with the policy. I do my best to explain it clearly at the beginning of the year. Also, most students feel well-prepared for the assessments and are more successful than if I were to give them long grammar tests preceded by study guides.
However despite my explanations and passion, I do sometimes get complaints from students, typically from students who are new to my class. They’ll say
Why didn’t you tell us we were going to have a test?
I feel like I often stumble through the answer and do not take advantage of the opportunity to reinforce why I do what I do. Thus, I created the following sign to be hung in the classroom. Now when I get a question about unannounced assessments, I can kindly refer the student to the sign or read it aloud for everyone to be reminded of the system.
Link to sign: Unannounced Assessment Poster
Bryan, is it true that ALL of your assessments are unannounced?
What about chapter tests?
What’s a chapter test?
It’s a test that is given at the end of a chapter.
What’s a chapter?
What about semester exams or state tests?
Ok, you got me there. Students do know about semester exams (dates determined by the district) and exams required by the university for dual enrollment, but I do not consider those to be MY assessments.